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GlobalFoundries Sets Up Shop In Essex Junction

VPR/Steve Zind
GlobalFoundries says it is actively hiring and committed to investing in the former IBM plant in Essex Junction.

The long-time IBM microelectronics plant in Essex Junction officially belongs to GlobalFoundries.

The acquisition, which also includes the IBM E. Fishkill, NY facility, was finalized following federal government approval.

Wednesday afternoon in Essex Junction, former IBM employees donned orange GlobalFoundries tee shirts and gathered under a tent to listen to music as their new employer welcomed them.

Overnight,  GlobalFoundries’ bright colors replaced the more sedate blue of IBM on the Essex Junction campus. Banners declared, “Orange is the new blue.”

"It's a very exciting day. The energy here is unbelievable..." - Janette Bombardier

“It’s a very exciting day. The energy here is unbelievable among our employees,” says Janette Bombardier, who spent more than 30 years with IBM.

Now the UVM graduate is a senior executive working for GlobalFoundries in Essex Junction and East Fishkill.

Bombardier says the acquisition is good news for her and other former IBM employees.

“We’re going over with the same salaries that we make today. From a benefits perspective we see very good benefit packages,” she says.

In recent years, IBM has not revealed the number of workers in Essex Junction, but Bombardier said the number is 3,000, which includes all those who were part of the IBM divestment.

She says several hundred others whose jobs were not part of the acquisition, in which IBM paid GlobalFoundries $1.5 billion to take its microchip division, will still work for Big Blue. 

After years of IBM layoffs, GlobalFoundries officials say they are committed to Essex Junction and actively hiring.

Brian Harrison, a GlobalFoundries senior vice president says Essex Junction provides products and processes that can’t be duplicated elsewhere and the company will invest in the plant.

"There is a strong, clear leadership position in the technology that is developed and manufactured here." - GlobalFoundries' Brian Harrison

“There is a strong, clear leadership position in the technology that is developed and manufactured here,” says Harrison. “One of the limiters has been a constraint in an investment in terms of development of the next generations of technology and additional and incremental capacity to supply the increasing demand. GlobalFoundries is committed to do both.”

The Essex Junction plant is GlobalFoundries ninth fabrication plant and has been dubbed 'Fab 9'.

GlobalFoundries has invested about $10 billion in its massive Fab 8 facility in Malta, New York.

Company officials declined to say how much money might be invested in the Vermont plant.

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.
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